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Bugle Albion fans say: Save our Stripes

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Morgan Amalfitano in the current Albion kit

  • John Kaye in Albion's all white change kit from the late 1960s

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IF rumours are to be believed, West Bromwich Albion are set to drop their traditional blue and white kit next season in favour of a predominantly white shirt with blue pinstripes. Unsurprisingly, this prospect has been met with howls of protest from Baggies fans.

Several teams have changed their colours over the years, some with more success than others. When Don Revie became manager of Leeds United in 1961 he changed their traditional blue and yellow kit for an all white strip, in emulation of Real Madrid, and in 1934 Herbert Chapman added white sleeves to Arsenal's usual all red shirts.

More recent changes have not been so successful. In 2012 Cardiff City dropped the blue shirts they had worn since 1908 for red shirts and black shorts, much to the chagrin of fans.

Would a change by Albion be just as unpopular with fans? Does it matter what strip the players wear, as long as they are successful, or is this further evidence that the dead hand of commercialism is destroying the traditional values of the game?

We asked Bugle readers on our Facebook page what they thought of Albion changing their colours and their response was overwhelmingly against it. Here's a flavour of what readers had to say:

Marion Vic Taylor Hampton wrote: "Keep the blue and white."

Phil Priest: "Stripes every time and if possible bring back the skills and determination shown in '54 and '68!"

Helen Hibbs: "Blue and white stripes every time and while we are at it bring back the green and yellow too."

John Foden: "New shirt is awful! Whatever happened to tradition. 0/10."

Lynne Denton Irion: "Don't be ridiculous. They will have an uprising on their hands if they do that."

Carl Challis: "Have to wait and see. Disgrace if true."

Nic Cox: "Yes stripes for me as well, wouldn't mind white as the away kit."

Patrick Keefe: "Keep the stripes every time."

A change would certainly fly in the face of tradition as the Throstles have played in blue and white stripes since the late 1880s.

However, in their earliest days the team sported a variety of kits before they settled on their traditional colours.

Formed in 1878 as West Bromwich Strollers, details of their early kits are vague but they may have played in white shirts with a blue diagonal stripe. The early 1880s saw the Baggies playing in red and blue quartered shirts, yellow and white quartered shirts, chocolate brown and blue halved shirts and in 1883, when the team won their first trophy, the Staffordshire Cup, they wore red and white horizontal stripes.

In 1883-84 they changed to brown and white halved shirts but the following season they played in red and sky blue shirts. The blue and white stripes made their first appearance in 1885, albeit in a lighter hue than is recognised today – Albion did not change to navy blue and white until after the First World War.

It has been blue and white all the way since then, except for during the Second World War when "utility" clothing and restrictions of dyes meant striped material was banned and Albion played in all blue shirts.

There has been much greater variety in Albion's change strip over the years and a predominantly white shirt would hark back to the all white kit the Baggies wore when they won the FA Cup in 1968.

That was the first FA Cup final to be televised in colour and both teams wore their change kits, Everton taking the field in amber shirts and blue shorts for their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Albion.

Baggies fans await the official announcement of what the new kit will be; in the meantime, what do you think? Should Albion drop their famous blue and white stripes for a new kit? Can football clubs change their colours, or even their names?

Let us know your views; write to us at 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL, log on at www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk or send an email to editor@blackcountrybugle.co.uk

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